Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mystery Weekend Roundup for November 30th, 2013

The Book Lists Are Here!

The end of the year Best Book Lists are pouring in left and right. J Kingston Pierce, editor of the award winning blog, The Rapsheet, just issued his list, as did Sandra Parshall and Publisher's Weekly.

If you have any Irish booklovers in the family (and who doesn't?) check out Declan Burke's post on his blog Crime Always Pays, to find out who won the Irish Crime Novel of the Year, and see the full list of nominees. There's more than one winner in this pile.

I'll keep you posted, as this is just the beginning.

Take Your Child To A Bookstore

Founded by suspense writer Jenny Milchman, this celebration of reading has returned. Take Your Child To A Bookstore is on December 7th. Started in 2010 with 80 bookstores, the event has grown rapidly, with over 600 participating this year. It's a great way to promote reading for children.

To find a location near you, click on the website link here.

The Perfect Christmas Gift

If you're a mystery fan looking for Christmas Cards to sent out, consider these cards featuring the face of Edgar Allen Poe. Available through the Barnes & Noble website, usually ships the same day. Spend 25 dollars and get free shipping (2 to 6 business days).

And if you'd like some expert help in picking a book, then visit your local independent bookstore today, November 30th, for assistance. Local writers will be on hand around the country at many independent bookstores to recommend just the right gift. At Mysteryscape in Kansas, authors Nancy Pickard, Linda Rodriguez, Sally Goldenbaum and Anola Pickett will be there to help.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Writers Born Today - Louisa May Alcott and the Power of the Dark Side

It's the birthday of Louisa May Alcott, born November 29, 1832. She is best remembered as the author of popular novels depicting domestic bliss, like Little Women and Jo's Boys. These stories brought her the financial success she had struggled to find her whole life.

But Louisa May Alcott had a secret life, a dark side. Under pen names like A.M. Barnard, she wrote Gothic thrillers which featured strong, independent women bent on revenge and murder. Recurring themes in these stories of "blood and thunder" as she called them, include madness, infidelity, drug abuse and obsessive love. One of these tales was considered so scandalous that her editor refused to print it, and it sat undiscovered among her papers until 1993. It was finally published in 1995 as A Long Fatal Love Chase.

She was raised in Concord, Massachusetts, where she counted among her friends and educators such esteemed philosophers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. But the family lived in grinding poverty, and by the age of 15 she was determined to work at anything to earn money...a seamstress, servant, teacher. During the Civil War she went to Washington, D.C and worked as a nurse. Typhoid fever forced her to return home. 

Six years before the success of Little Women, she entered a contest and won first prize, 100 dollars. The story, Pauline's Passion and Punishment, was published anonymously and was the first of several thrillers that supported her and her family. It wasn't until the 1940s that literary scholars discovered that these thrillers had been penned by Alcott.

After the success of Little Women, Alcott found herself constantly in the public spotlight. The attention made it impossible for her to continue writing the thrillers that she loved. Despite her liberal upbringing, 19th century conventions and her father's influence dominated her actions.

"I think my natural ambition is for the lurid style. I indulge in gorgeous fancies and wish that I dared inscribe them upon my pages and set them before the public. And what would my own good father think of me...if I set folks to doing the things I have a longing to see my people do? No, my dear, I shall always be a wretched victim to the respectable traditions of Concord."

Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott
 ---Madeleine Stern, editor

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

60 Years Ago Today, The Long Goodbye is Published

In 1953, after several years of struggle, Raymond Chandler's novel, The Long Goodbye, came to print. He wrote the book while nursing his wife through an extended illness, which eventually took her life. It had a profound impact on Chandler. His last years alone were marked by alcohol abuse and loneliness.

The Long Goodbye is one of Chandler's most personal stories, and he put a lot of his own suffering into the characters. He told his agent, "you could not know the bitter struggle I have had in the past year to achieve enough cheerfulness to live on, much less to put into a book."

Anthony Boucher gave the book a rave review in the New York Times, and declared it one of the best private eye novels ever written. Today it is recognized as a classic work of art and helped cement Chandler's reputation as a great writer. In 1955 the Mystery Writers of America awarded The Long Goodbye an Edgar for Best Novel.

"To say goodbye is to die a little."

                     from The Long Goodbye

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY for November 26, 2013

Senate Demands Answers on NSA Surveillance, Inspector General Says "We're Broke"

The Inspector General who is in charge of the NSA and other intelligence has replied to a request from Congress demanding answers about the massive data collection on millions of Americans.

Charles McCullough III has told Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Leahy that the NSA doesn't have enough money to investigate the allegations.

Oh, really? That's convenient.

Maybe the NSA doesn't have the money for an investigation because they're spending it on data centers that are continually suffering from unexplained equipment failures. According to the Wall Street Journal, an NSA data storage center in Utah has had 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months, and no one has been able to figure out why. According to the article, "each incident caused as much as $100,000 in damage". That's 1.3 million dollars in overrun costs.

You can ask a lot of questions during an investigation for 1.3 million dollars. But hey, it's just money...your money.

Santa May Be Running Late This Year

If you've already started putting out the Christmas decorations and hung the stockings over your fireplace, take a break. Santa may not be on time this year. Seems he's been arrested.

According to the Boston Globe, Santa has been charged with groping a female elf. So far, there's been no comment from Kris Kringle, or his spouse, Mrs. Claus.

The good news is, Santa was able to post bail, which is set at 1,000 dollars.

The bad news is, he's due back in court on December 24th...Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve? Uh, can someone point out to the judge that Santa is going to be a bit busy that day?

Tip of the Week - Don't Use Social Media To Taunt the Police

Rolando Lozano will have some time in jail to think about that one after he posted on his Facebook account a challenge daring police to track him down. The cops took the challenge, and he was arrested 15 minutes later. Police had already arrested Lozano's brother Damian as a suspect in a series of car break-ins and were looking for Rolando. He obliged them after seeing his mugshot on the facebook page of the Rosenberg police department.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Crime Writers and the Movies That Inspired Them

On Tuesday evening, TCM is showing several notable crime films, along with an hour long special featuring crime writers who were inspired by classic film noir. The guests include crime writers like James Ellroy, Joseph Wambaugh and Otto Penzler. Tess Gerritsen also appears with commentary on the role of the femme fatale in crime movies.

After the hour long special, TCM is serving up several classic films of crime, such as The Asphalt Jungle, Bonnie and Clyde, and The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three.

The special airs at 8 PM EST and again at 11 PM. Check the link on TCM for more information and to see the full schedule.

Linda Rodriguez Interview on KCUR Radio

Linda Rodriguez is appearing on the Kansas City radio talk show, Central Standard today. The program airs on  KCUR at 10 AM CST. You can listen live, or check out the interview later on the show archives. Linda, President of the local Border Chapter of Sisters In Crime will discuss the organization and its role in supporting crime writers.

Linda publishes a popular mystery series, which started with Every Last Secret, winner of the Malice Domestic Award for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel in 2011.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hank Phillippi Ryan at the Kansas City Library with Sisters in Crime

Here's the video from Thursday's ceremony celebrating Sisters In Crime Border Chapter 5 year anniversary. Since it's 45 minutes long, here's a rough Table of Contents.

Introduction by Linda Rodriguez, Border Chapter President
0.00 minutes

Nancy Pickard's Role and Gift  (Nancy founded the local chapter)
3.05 minutes

Hank Phillippi Ryan talks about the journey to her career as a fiction writer
4.53 minutes

Questions Session
37.12 minutes

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MYSTERY WEEKEND ROUNDUP for November 23, 2013

Hank Phillippi Ryan Comes To Kansas City

We were thrilled to have Hank Phillippi Ryan, award winning writer of thrillers such as The Other Woman and The Wrong Girl at the Kansas City Library on Thursday, November 22nd. Sisters in Crime Border Chapter is celebrating its 5 Year Anniversary, thanks to writers like Nancy Pickard, who helped establish the local chapter.

Hank spoke at the Kansas City library about her career as an emmy winning investigative journalist, and how she met the challenge of switching to fiction. The transition seems to have worked. She has won the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards. I'll post a video link to her speech on this blog as soon as it's available.

Suspense Radio Interviews Beth Groundwater

Beth Groundwater will be interviewed today on Suspense Radio about her writing career and latest mystery novel, A Basket of Trouble, the latest in the Claire Hanover series. Beth lives in Colorado and uses the beautiful scenery as material and inspiration in her books. 

She'll be answering questions after the interview, but if you can't listen in, you can find it in the archive following the show.

Cozy Mystery Contest

If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, here's a chance to win some books from the Cozy Chicks, featuring novels from writers such as Julie Hyzy, Lucy Burdette, Krista Davis and Daryl Wood Gerber.

Get Ready for Pitch Wars!

Are you a writer with an unpublished manuscript? Need some help finding an agent or polishing the novel? Then sign up for Pitch Wars, for your chance to find a mentor who can help get that novel into shape. The next submission round starts December 2nd. Check out the link for details and to pick out a mentor who may be interested in your work. There are 32 participants, so you'll have plenty of options.  Polish up those queries and get ready to pitch!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY for November 19, 2013

German Refuses To Surrender Looted Art

The man whose apartment held 1500 works of art, some of which may have been looted by the Nazis during World War II, is refusing to cooperate with authorities to return them to their rightful owners. About 500 of the works may be stolen, including masterpieces by Matisse and Chagall.

It gets worse.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, "he is the owner of the artwork until proven otherwise". Cornelius Gurlitt reportedly told the German magazine Der Spiegel that he would not even discuss the matter with police. His refusal will make it far more difficult to reunite the stolen art with the rightful owners.

The art was seized two years ago as part of a tax fraud investigation, but the public only learned about them a few weeks ago. Countries around the world have been critical of the handling of the discovery, saying that Germany hasn't done nearly enough to return the looted art.

For his part, the 80 year old art collector says that he is a hero for saving the works from being destroyed by the Nazis. He was furious when the authorities displayed some of them to reporters, claiming they had no right to show "his private property".

You can see samples of some of the seized artwork here.

Recognize anything?

You can read more about this strange tale, including the allied soldiers who were assigned to search for such stolen art in the closing days of the war, at this link.

Book Burning Still Stirs Hard Feelings Forty Years Later

It was 40 years ago this November that the school board in Drake, North Dakota received one single complaint about a school assignment. What happened next made the town famous, or rather, infamous.

A new teacher had assigned some novels to read, including Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and James Dickey's Deliverance. After the complaint, the books were removed. The teacher had some defenders but, as an outsider in a small town, most of the citizens stood against him.

Then the books were burned. The outcry was immediate. The image of book burning was worsened by the fact that one of the works, the now classic Slaughterhouse-Five, was inspired by the author's experience as a survivor in the horrendous fire bombing of Dresden, which killed tens of thousands of civilians and burned the city to the ground.

Obviously, the people responsible for making this decision didn't bother to read the book. At the time, none of the school board seemed to understand the impact their action would create. But in hindsight, Superintendent Furhman said "it would have been better to just store them".

The teacher, Bruce Severy, resented by the town folk who blamed him for the outcry, left for Fargo with his family after his contract was not renewed and his pupils re-assigned to another class.

Today, people in town don't like to discuss the matter with outsiders. Probably for the best. None of us like to dwell on our blunders, especially when they make the national news.

To this day, the town library doesn't have a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five or Deliverance on its shelves.  But did you know that donations of used books is tax-deductible as a gift to charity? Let me know if you want the library's address.

Tip of the Week - Don't Rob a Gun Store If You're Armed With a Baseball Bat

The headline pretty much says it all, but if you'd like to read more, here's the link.

I will add this. If you're looking for your 15 minutes of fame in life, there are better ways to get it. Um, actually, all of them are better. Write a book, save a life, run for public office, volunteer at your favorite charity, start a blog (I may try this one, myself). Patent an invention, even if it's something that may only wind up being pitched on late night infomercials. And have some fun along the way.  Life is short.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Junie B. Jones And The Very Sad Day :(

Barbara Park Dies of Ovarian Cancer, Wrote Popular Bedtime Stories

Barbara Park, author of the popular Junie B. Jones series for children (and adults), has passed away at the age of 66 of ovarian cancer.  She leaves behind a husband, two sons, millions of adoring fans, and one impish little girl who can never seem to stay out of trouble. When asked how she managed to create such true to life dialogue for kids, she stated "I don't have a problem being 6 years old in my
head". A self described class clown, she listed as influences writers as diverse as Judy Blume and J.D. Salinger.

After her diagnosis with cancer seven years ago, she started a charitable organization to help women struggling with cancer, called Sisters in Survival.

Her books sold over 55 million copies (with at least a dozen of those in our house). Barbara Park never got around to writing an adult novel, explaining "I'm not actually sure I'm grown-up enough for grown-up books."

I began reading her stories about 6 months ago, and immediately fell in love. The author's humorous way with words and use of mischievous slang has filled our house with laughter. Her books are a fixture on the nightstand next to the bed.

Oh, by the way, my grandchildren like them too.

"I got tricked!
     'Cause on the day of the trip, I told Mother I had a fever. But that woman did not even take my word for it.
     Instead, she took my temperature!
    And so what kind of trust is that, I ask you?"

                                                -- Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket

Saturday, November 16, 2013

MYSTERY WEEKEND ROUNDUP for November 16, 2013

Sisters In Crime Borders Chapter Celebrates Five Year Anniversary with Hank Phillippi Ryan

Our local chapter will be celebrating it's 5th Anniversary this coming Thursday, and award winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan will be there to discuss her latest novel, The Wrong Girl. This promises to be an exciting and entertaining event that you won't want to miss.

Join us at the Kansas City Central Library on November 21st at 6:00 PM. The program starts at 6:30 following a reception. Admission is free. Free parking is available on Baltimore Avenue in the Library District parking garage. RSVP at Kansas City Library or call 816-701-3407.

NBC Plans Another 'Murder, She Wrote' Series

NBC has plans to revive a beloved mystery series.  Murder, She Wrote will be filmed with a new star, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.  The original series, which starred Angela Lansbury in the lead role of J.B. Fletcher, mystery writer, ran for 12 seasons and was a favorite among TV viewers. It was one of the first TV series that gave the main role to an actress over the age of 50.

The new series will star Octavia Spencer, as a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who self-publishes her mystery novel.

Angela Lansbury has stated that she is opposed to the revival of the series with the original name, although she was approached and offered a role in the new show. According to her, the series "will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person."

Now comes word that the new series may not even be called Murder, She Wrote. In addition, Deadline reports that the character will not be named Jessica Fletcher. It's enough to send a detective back to his or her  notes to re-interview the witnesses and suspects.  We'll keep you posted.

Writing Awards and Contests

The Claymore Award is accepting entries for 2014. Submissions must be received by April 30, 2014. Any unpublished crime novel is eligible. The winner will be announced on August 23rd at Killer Nashville.

If you've already published a crime novel this year, consider submitting it for the Silver Falchion Award. Previously only open to attendees of Killer Nashville, the award is now open to non-attendees. The award is presented to the author of the best book published during the year.

Submissions for the Edgar, mystery fiction's most prestigious award, are open until November 30th. Check with your publisher if you think you may have a work to submit. The awards will be announced at the annual MWA banquet on May 1, 2014.

Unpublished novelists still have time to enter the St. Martin's Minotaur/MWA First Crime Novel Competition. Your entry must not have been published or under contract with a publisher. deadline is one minute before midnight on December 16, 2013.

Time to sharpen those writing skills with another contest, compliments of literary agent and query shark Janet Reid. The competition is open now until Sunday at 7 AM EST. Entries must be 100 words or less and include the following words.


Check the link for complete rules, or risk becoming shark bait!

Councilman Wants to Cut Library Budget, Calls Patrons 'hippies and junkies'

Lafourche Parish in Louisiana needs a new jail. And Lindel Toups has just the answer for how to fund it. Cut the local library budget.

After all, they don't need the money. The patrons are, in his words, "junkies and hippies" who only use the library to "look at drugs and food stamps on the internet." But that's not the biggest problem he sees with the library. Their greatest offense is that one of the branches has a program to help Spanish speakers learn our language.

That's a problem? Most people want newcomers to learn English, but Mr. Toups has a...shall we say...a simpler solution.

"Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico."

To be fair, Councilman Toups is just trying to use the taxpayer's money efficiently. According to him, "We’re giving the public the chance to raise the jail money without raising taxes. Any blind man can see that.”

Of course, even a blind man knows that spending money on education, including libraries, reduces the need to build jails in the first place. But Mr. Toups may have a more personal reason for spending money on a new jail. The old one is in fact overcrowded, and he won't want his son and grandson to have to live in poor conditions.

Seems the councilman's family members were arrest in 2009 for drug possession, so they may get a chance to see the new jail firsthand. Something to look forward to, perhaps. Who says there isn't a silver lining behind every dark cloud?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writers Born Today - Vera Caspary

It's the birthday of writer Vera Caspary, born November 13, 1899.  From 1927 until her death, she supported herself and her mother entirely from her pen. She published over a dozen novels and numerous short stories, and worked as a highly sought after screenwriter for Hollywood. Universal bought one of her screenplays for 150,000 dollars, with Marilyn Monroe in mind for the lead.

Her reputation was made with the publication of the novel, Laura. It was hailed as the first psycho thriller. Told from multiple points of view, the novel gives the reader a complex portrayal of a successful business woman and her competitive suitors. The combustible mix leads to murder. It was made into a popular movie that has achieved classic status, although it earned Vera very little money.

Described as one of the original "Gone Girls" who influenced female mystery writers of the 80s and 90s, her work is receiving fresh attention. Sarah Weinman included a Caspary short story, Sugar and Spice, in her critically acclaimed anthology Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. Her most influential novel, Laura, was featured in the groundbreaking Library of America collection, Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s.

Caspary's fiction portrayed strong, independent women at a time when most wives and girlfriends were expected to support their men and cater to their needs. In her autobiography, Vera expressed delight at having lived during the turbulent changes of the 20th century, when roles for women dramatically expanded due to the Great Depression and World War Two.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY for November 12, 2013

“I came from a real tough neighborhood. Once a guy pulled a knife on me. I knew he wasn't a professional, the knife had butter on it.”
                                                                                                        ― Rodney Dangerfield

Burglar Breaks into the Wrong Home. Is That an Ax?

A man who broke into a woman's home to rob her got the shock of his life when she grabbed an ax and chased him from her property. He was arrested by police, but he should count his blessings. The victim was an ax throwing champ, who could have easily turned the burglar into swiss cheese had she wanted. "I could have thrown it", Robin Irvine stated.

And I bet she wouldn't have missed.

Pittsburgh Mayor Elect Bill Peduto Fights his Victory Celebration

Newly elected mayor Bill Peduto held a victory party at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum a few days ago and has already made a dent in crime when a fugitive in attendance was arrested. Ernie Daniels, who jumped bail several months earlier on an assault charge, was arrested after he showed up, no doubt attracted because of his keen interest in the political process.

Or maybe it was the free food and beer.

In any event, the new mayor is already taking a bite out of crime. Hopefully, this bodes well for the city of Pittsburgh. At least it will make a great campaign button for his next election race.

Be On The Lookout For These Baaaaad Boys

Police reported that 160 sheep have been stolen in a small town called Wool.  They assume the criminals will try to sell their ill gotten goods on the cheap, so if a man in a dark alley tries to sell you a side of mutton at a big discount, call the cops. But don't approach them. They may be armed with a pair of shears.

Man Arrested For DUI...On A Horse

A man who wanted to attend his brother's wedding in Utah decided to get there on horseback, which would have been OK if he hadn't been drinking. Witnesses saw the man strike his horse and force pedestrians from the sidewalk as he rode along, all the while carrying a dog in one arm. Police arrested the man and charged with him cruelty to animals and DUI, among other charges. The beer cans were in his saddle bag (of course, where else would you keep them?)

And the reason he was on horseback instead of in a car? He lost his driver's license. Why doesn't that surprise me?

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Veteran's Day Help A Warrior Tell His Story

He was still a teen when he enlisted the army. By the time the war ended two years later, he'd seen brutal combat in the Battle of the Bulge, won three medals and been badly wounded. He saw fellow soldiers treat Native American warriors with contempt, and it made a lasting impression on him when he returned home.

He got employment as a journalist and professor. In his spare time he began writing fiction. Deeply influenced by the Indian culture of the Southwest, he wrote his first novel about a Navajo tribal policeman. Although his first agent urged him to dump the "indian stuff", he persevered, and won an Edgar Award for Best novel with his third one, Dance Hall of the Dead. He went on to write 18 mystery novels, many of them best sellers.

His name was Tony Hillerman. And he was a veteran.

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned home. Many of them have seen horrific combat and witnessed the death of close friends. Although their physical wounds will disappear in time, the emotional scars often remain. For many of these vets, writing down their experiences may be the best way to heal and move forward with their lives.

The Veteran's Writing Project is helping vets tell their stories, so that they can re-integrate with society and their families and neighbors. Donations to their organization are tax deductible.

Perhaps the next Tony Hillerman will emerge from their workshops. You can read more about them in this New York Times article, Warrior Voices.  Are you a teacher? You can also read about how to conduct a successful writing workshop for veterans.

Either way, your support can make a difference for our veterans. They deserve it.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

MYSTERY WEEKEND ROUNDUP for November 9, 2013

Author Appearances

Raymond Benson is at the Beth Am Book Fair today until 3 PM in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

On Wednesday, November 13, Jenny Milchman appears at the New York Public Library with P.M. Carlson, Dirk Robertson and Wendi Corsi Staub. They'll be discussing with Jillian Abbott the topic, "How Did You Become A Mystery Writer?" The program is at the mid-Manhattan library and starts at 6:30 PM.

Crime Fiction Talk on Radio

Looking for an idea for your next murder mystery? Why not try a little poison? To learn more about exotic ways to kill that character, check out this audio broadcast on Suspense Radio with Deborah Blum, author of the Poisoner's handbook. She'll be discussing The Infancy of Toxicology.

And Sarah Weinman sat down with Ian Williams of Catskill Review of Books to talk about the critically acclaimed anthology, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives.  Sarah edited the collection and chose some excellent stories from female writers we should all get to know. Spend some time at home with these masters of Domestic Suspense.

Thriller Fiction Gets Some Respect

Still derided as pulp or lowbrow literature by some, the thriller novel is getting a boost from an unlikely source. Robert Stone, whose previous work has made him a recognized master of the literary novel, has just released his first thriller, Death of the Black-Haired Girl. His usual work involves exotic locations with complex story lines. Previously, he produced seven novels in 47 years.

Stone is hardly the first literary giant to take on genre fiction. Other pillars have taken a stab at it, including Thomas Pynchon and Joyce Carol Oates.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Writers Born Today - Bram Stoker

Today is the birthday of Irish writer Bram Stoker, born in Dublin on November 8, 1847. As a sickly child, he spent most of his time in bed, listening to stories told by his mother. He wrote 18 books, and published his first horror story, The Primrose Path, in 1875.

His most famous novel is Dracula, published in 1897. It was not the first piece of fiction to feature vampires, but became the standard by which all subsequent vampire stories are measured, and is considered a masterpiece of the genre. Stoker's main character was originally named Count Wampyr. But he changed it to Dracula after reading that the Romanian translation of Dracula meant "Devil". The story is set in Transylvania and he did research for the geography at the British Museum.

Despite being well received by critics, the novel made little money for Stoker, and he died in poverty. His widow was forced to sell his notes and outline for the novel at auction for just a few dollars.

Stoker wrote the first adaptation of the story for the theater, and Dracula made his first appearance in film in 1922 with Nosferatu.

Over 200 Dracula films have been made, including the 1931 release Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. It was the first full length supernatural horror film by a Hollywood studio, and newspapers reported that some members of the audience fainted at the horrific scenes. Despite the reports, or perhaps because of them, the movie was a huge success.

Bela Lugosi was not the first choice for the starring role, but eventually was cast after he agreed to a reduced salary. He received only $3,500 for his work.

After the censorship code went into effect in Hollywood, some of the scenes were cut from the movie because they were either considered too intense or due to fears that religious groups would object. As recently as 1994, the novel was removed from a required reading list for senior students at a high school in Lewisville, Texas because of "sexual references".

Bram Stoker continued to write horror and science fiction until his death in 1912. Other works of note include The Lair of the White Worm and The Jewel of Seven Stars. The Horror Writers Association has a coveted award named after him, the Bram Stoker Award. Some of the most famous winners of the award include Thomas Harris, Peter Straub and Stephen King.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TRUE CRIME TUESDAY For November 5. 2013

Man Refuses To Stop at McDonald's, Girlfriend Has Big Mac Attack!

The next time your significant other asks you to stop for fast food, think it over before you say no. One man did and his girlfriend ran him over with his own truck. The Hamburglar has nothing on this felonious female. According to the story in the Daily Mail, Crystal Brooks hit the gas after moving into the driver's seat and while her boyfriend was still standing in front of the truck. She struck him two more times, just for good measure.

Naturally, she told the police it was an accident. They weren't buying it, and she is now in county lockup on a $15,000 bond.

Intelligence Chairman Claims No Privacy Violations by NSA - You Didn't Know Anything!

According to Representative Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Congressional House Intelligence Committee, the NSA did NOT, in fact violate the privacy of millions of law abiding Americans,
simply because those citizens were unaware that their privacy was being violated!

This ranks up there with other famous contradictory statements by government officials, such as "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."  and ‎"We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it."

At the end of the video clip, Rogers suggests they discuss the idea further over a bottle of wine. Judging from the logic of his statement, I think it's quite possible he's already had one too many.

Man Arrested For Overdue Library Book

If you've ever returned a book late to your local library, better beware. Our lending institutions are cracking down on you scofflaws, as one unfortunate man discovered.  Jory Enck of Texas was arrested for failing to return a book he checked out three years ago.

I better check my nightstand. I think I may have a couple of overdue books. Is that a police car in my driveway?

Author Appearances

If you're in Panama City today, stop by the The Purple Grape on Beck Avenue. Michael Lister is having a book signing for his new thriller, Separation Anxiety.  

And Beth Groundwater is releasing a new mystery in her Claire Hanover series on November 8th, A Basket of Trouble. 

If you haven't read their work, check out these events and pick up their books. It would be a crime if you didn't.